A NWSL on ION Saturday Night Soccer graphic. A NWSL on ION Saturday Night Soccer graphic. (ION.)

On Saturday, March 16, the National Women’s Soccer League season will kick off, and so will ION’s coverage of it. The E.W. Scripps Company-owned network has the most tonnage of any NWSL media partner (the others are ESPN, CBS Sports, and Amazon) under deals signed in November, featuring a single Utah Royals vs. Chicago Red Stars game on that opening night. They’ll then have regular Saturday Night Soccer doubleheaders after that, complete with the first weekly national studio show dedicated to the NWSL.

And Wednesday saw Scripps Sports announce details on their talent for that show and their broadcasts. The studio show, originating from Atlanta and led by veteran producer (and former BYU soccer player) Nicole Denne, will include 30-minute pre-match shows (starting at 7 p.m. each Saturday), halftime shows, wrap-up and preview shows in between the doubleheader games, and post-match shows (depending on the schedule). Here’s more on the talent involved in the studio show from a release:

Lisa Carlin, host – She serves as a host and analyst for CBS Sports soccer coverage on “Attacking Third,” which she helped launch in 2021, covering the NWSL, the U.S. Women’s National team and international women’s soccer. Carlin has also provided commentary for NWSL matches the last four seasons and previously enjoyed announcing stints with Major League Soccer, FOX Sports, ESPN and more. Carlin won two Big East championships at Marquette University.

· Darian Jenkins, analyst – She is currently serving as a CBS Sports analyst on “Attacking Third,” “Morning Footy” and “Box to Box” on the Golazo Network covering soccer globally. Jenkins played professionally in France and Australia and with the North Carolina Courage, OL Reign, Orlando Pride and Kansas City in the NWSL. She won an NWSL championship in 2018 with North Carolina. She is a former chief of staff for Gotham FC. Jenkins also won a national championship in college with the UCLA Bruins.

· Jessica McDonald, analyst – She played 12 years in the NWSL and two seasons in Australia. McDonald won a World Cup title in 2019 with the USWNT. She won three NWSL championships, three NWSL Shields and a SheBelieves Cup. McDonald was NWSL Championship MVP in 2018. She is tied as the league’s all-time assist leader. She won two NCAA titles with North Carolina.

· Nicole Denne, executive producer – She has been serving as senior director of national news for Scripps. She is a former executive producer at KNBC in Los Angeles. Denne played collegiate soccer at Brigham Young University.

Scripps Sports also announced their two distinct broadcast teams for NWSL coverage. Veteran play-by-play voice JP Dellacamera will helm the first team alongside analyst Jill Loyden, with Tom Piero as producer and Gage Tilotsen as director. On the second team, Maura Sheridan will handle play-by-play with Jordan Angeli as analyst, while Mackenzie Pearce will serve as producer and Art Izquierdo as director. All of those figures have notable soccer experience, and everyone but Angeli and Izquierdo has specifically worked in NWSL broadcasting (but both have significant experience in MLS and elsewhere, and Angeli played in the NWSL).

This is certainly a veteran group of soccer and NWSL broadcasters. And the studio show information is particularly notable. While the studio show was discussed even in the initial media deal announcements, we now have concrete information on it. And Scripps Sports’ Brian Lawlor told AA in December the studio show (a concept they’re also planning to do with their WNBA coverage) will be a differentiator for their NWSL broadcasts:

“I think one of the really cool advances we’ll make this year for both the NWSL and the WNBA is the addition of studio shows for both of those,” he said. “In both cases, we’re going to do a national studio show, 7-7:30 each night setting up the week and the night, we’ll have a first national game 7:30 to roughly 9:30, come back to the studio to wrap that game and prep for a second game, and then we’ll have a second national game beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern through midnight. We’re really excited for both of these leagues to have studio shows dedicated to their sport that feel like a pregame to a NFL Sunday. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

…”I think you’ll see the next level of execution on the NWSL and the WNBA. I think the studio shows will really start to define and help to establish a place for women’s sports in the U.S. I think we’ll really have some incredible platforms to showcase some of the best women’s sports in America.”

We’ll see how that concept works out for Scripps Sports, but we now know what that studio show will look like and who will be involved.



About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.